As most of you know, I believe if you love what you do for a living than you will never work a day in your life. Those that love trucks like me, realize that the friends you make and the cool trucks are the “silver lining” of trucking. This truck, which I appropriately call Silver Lining, is a perfect example of that philosophy – plus, it’s painted several different shades of silver!
Talking about the friends you make, 10-4 Magazine is an amazing part of trucking’s silver lining, as well. A couple people had a vision to create a free publication, that share the same interest as us, and 28 years later it is still going. Good, honest people that love their jobs, just like us. It’s a family of people that work hard to make it happen, and to still keep it free this whole time is an awesome accomplishment. I wanted to give a big thank you to our 10-4 Magazine family.
This month’s feature truck is the part of my job that I am always excited to do – order and build whatever I want for a show. I usually get to order one for our local farm show, like the gold truck with whitewall tires I did a couple years ago, so when Chad Foss (a previous customer and feature) called to ask me about that gold truck, I told him I was building a silver one for GBATS. His reply, “I will take it when you are done!” He didn’t even know what we were going to do!
I like to think that we put out cool trucks, and our team at KC Peterbilt does an amazing job of taking customer’s ideas and making them a reality. No one does anything alone, and our builds are no exception. We need parts and pieces for these projects. Many of the parts for our projects come from our friends at 4 State Trucks in Joplin, MO. So, last year, we decided we would build a nice truck for their show to take and display as a “thank you” for all they do for us. Unfortunately, as you all know, that show was postponed until this year. We had a lot of projects going on, so I felt bad working on “my” truck project, so we ended up pushed it back and didn’t finish it until June of this year.
The truck is a new Peterbilt 389 with a 44” sleeper, modest wheelbase, Low LowAir, a 565-hp Cummins X15 with 2,050 torque, an 18-speed, and a little help from my friends at Axalta and the paint department at Peterbilt, who allowed me to order this one silver with a silver frame. After the truck showed up in the spring of 2020, it sat at the dealership for a while until Tyler could take it to NRC (No Rush Customs) and bag it with a special air-ride kit from Stuart at Nor-Cal Custom Trucks in California. Tyler added one of my body drop kits, and then stripped the air bags off the back of the bunk. The hood wouldn’t close, so I changed the steer tires to smaller ones for the hood to clear the fenders, and then Valley Chrome made us a special 16” bumper to accommodate the body drop.
I am so thankful and fortunate to have had Daniel Bilodeau from Quebec build me a custom old style aluminum grill crown for this special project. The body shop reskinned the passenger door to get rid of the peep hole, and then my friend Tim Ahlborn helped in sending me pictures of the paint job I really wanted done (I had sold a truck with one of these paint schemes on it when I was a kid but haven’t seen hardly any since). Pat the painter helped blend all the colors, based on the factory silver, so that all the paint and stripe colors are the same base color, just with different tints. Sometimes, when the sun hits it just right, you can’t even see the stripes!
Because the truck is all silver, and silver tends to lift on multi-colored stripe jobs, I had the shop paint it three separate times, clearing and sanding the entire body each time, before adding the next stripe. This was tedious work, and I appreciate their patience in the paint shop. In addition to making sure the silver did not lift, I also wanted the entire exterior to feel smooth, so they added extra layers of clear to help bury the stripes. My friend Bub made me a special set of door-mounted mirrors that slanted to match the cab stripes and the doors. He also removed all the excess wiring from the mirrors to clean things up even more.
The visor is a whole special thing on its own. Over 30 years ago, I met a guy that had an old Pete with a visor he had made from an old street sign. I loved it! Since I started having my friend Bub make visors for me, I have been telling him about this street sign visor. Well, I am excited to say, my dad and I helped one of my customers find his original 1972 Peterbilt that he had lost track of in the 80s. It had been parted out in the 80s after it was totaled and had been sitting in a yard in Missouri. When my dad and I drove up to grab the leftovers at Mark Brandon’s place, there it was – that old Peterbilt with the street sign sun visor!
When I asked Mark if he remembered me from way back when, he did, saying, “You were just a kid!” He remembered how mesmerized I was over that visor and laughed. Then, he took me to his shop, moved a few old boxes, and pulled out the street sign visor pattern and the handmade tools he had used to make it. I asked him if I could borrow the pattern to build a sun visor for my special truck, and he said yes. I was in shock, because I really wanted and older style aluminum visor for the truck, so this was going to be the icing on the cake.
Heading straight to Bub’s place, we began trying to duplicate the process. Finally, after a few failed attempts, Bub got it made. I cannot thank Bub enough for the countless hours of hammering to duplicate this old visor.
After Tyler installed the first visor at NRC (my place), I was so excited to drive it back to the shop to finish a few other things, I drove a bit too fast and actually cracked the visor. Street signs are a lot thinner than the metal we use on a normal visor, so Bub made me another one with thicker material, but then it wouldn’t fit at all. Taking it back to the shop, he made another one, and the third time was a charm – it was perfect! When Mark came to pick up the pattern, I offered to buy it from him, but he decided to keep it. Later, he reconsidered, and I am happy to say that I now own the pattern and the tools to build these cool old school sun visors.
As always, I leaned on my dad for some help, too, who helped me lower the air cleaners. I love my dad – even the craziest ideas I can come up with, he smiles and says, “Sure, how are we going to do that?” There are so many little details that are hard to see at first glance, like how we changed the dash to a Pride and Class version, and all the interior, including the seats, is now gray. I did some trading and came up with a used set of Shift fenders, and my friends at Shift Products made me a special deal on some nice brackets to mount them on my special project. Good’s Glass in PA made custom glass for the truck, the shop added wide cowls and a smooth deck plate, Cody helped hide the DEF tank, and then he did all the finishing details before Chad showed up to get it in June of 2021.
Over the summer, I was excited to have my daughter Georgia Overdrive hang out and help me do some organizing. During this time, I found an old letterhead and logo from the 70s for Kansas City Peterbilt, so I sent it to my friends at Thunder Grafix and had them make me an old hood logo decal. I can honestly say this is the first truck I have ever added a dealer logo to. I typically don’t like them, but I loved the old 70s vibe this one had – plus, it’s just vinyl, so it can be easily peeled off if Chad decides to do so.
Once the truck was close to being done, I let Chad know, and he just said, “Tell me when I need to come and get it.” I have ordered, built and featured several of Chad’s rigs over the years. After picking it up early this summer, he took it to a couple shows, but he has also been driving it, making some rounds, to earn her keep. He said it is quite the attention-getter.
I want to thank my friends and co-workers for all their help, on this build and all our builds, at KC Peterbilt. You people all make me look good and are the reason “I love my job” each and every day. Chad is bringing this truck to the GBATS truck show at 4 State Trucks in Joplin, MO (September 23-25) and will be parking it next to the 10-4 Magazine booth. If you are near, please stop by to check it out in person and say hello. If you love trucks like us, you will be surrounded by people that have the same interests – people that have found the “silver lining” of trucking, just like you.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Special thanks to Jacob Gunderson and Eric Hill for providing most of the photographs for this feature, along with a few from Clint Moore, himself, as well.